Uzbek News

by Nathan Hamm on 4/17/2004

I’m not going to go anywhere near saying I agree with some of the garbage (from the “you’ll find it if it’s all you’re looking for” school of journalism) in this story, but it is worth reading. I wouldn’t say Uzbekistan is undergoing a religious resurgence (sure, in some quarters, but c’mon, it’s not nearly as widespread as Christian fundamentalism in the US) and comparisons of Uzbekistan to Iran under the Shah strike me as excessively silly and a convenient way for journalists to avoid having to do any kind of actual research for their stories. However, all the journalistic insertions are washed away by the good info in the story and the fact that we get to see a quotation from a Human Rights Watch employee that actually rips on the aims of Hizb ut-Tahrir,

Many human rights advocates oppose Hizb ut-Tahrir’s goals but say it should be free to espouse them. “Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ideology is not democratic. It’s anti-Western, it’s anti-Semitic, a lot of it is hateful,” said Allison Gill, an Uzbekistan researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch. “It’s not that we protect the content of their speech. We protect their right to speech.”

They should take the 30 seconds it takes to spit that out a little more often.

The group behind the Tashkent bombings says they have 350 members, a quarter of whom have undergone “militant training.” The meatiest part of this story is that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization‘s terrorism center director, a former deputy head of Uzbekistan’s intelligence agency, said counter-terrorism will only succeed if police and military measures are coupled with democratic and economic reforms.

Another interesting tidbit is that though they still don’t know the structure of the group (called Jamoat here, and I’m not sure if they are the same as the Uzbek Islamic Jihad that’s been mentioned) and its relationship with groups like the IMU, they do know that the structure consists of a head Emir and lesser Emirs.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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